Roth and Paparone (Ten Dirty Pigs/Ten Clean Pigs, 1999, etc.) reveal a universal truth known to children, but oft-times forgotten by adults: the bus ride to school can be the best part of the day. As the peppy yellow bus zooms around town, it collects an unusual assortment of passengers. One by one, seven silly animals climb onboard. Roth’s witty verses offer uproarious thumbnail sketches of the eclectic crowd, as “a pig in a wig,” “a hairy bear,” “a quick, quick chick,” and others clamber onto the vehicle past the friendly reptilian driver. A pair of rhyming verses introduces each creature followed by a laundry-list review of all the previous passengers, culminating in the exuberant chant, “Riding the bus to school, to school, riding the bus to school.” Once its merry charges are deposited at their destination, the bus patiently awaits the time to return them all back home. Paparone’s vividly colored illustrations are a hilarious counterpart to the sprightly rhymes. Brimming with visual puns, her paintings are both realistic and humorous: from the antics of the passengers to mundane, yet slightly satirical, activities of the background characters peppering the landscape, she offers up a comical slice of life that is readily recognizable to young readers. An ebullient blend of singsong chants and giddy rhymes, this rollicking read-aloud tale is perfect to share with the youngest preschooler. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7358-1646-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2002


Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

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